Ethics And Values Assignment Monisha Chandar. B Sometimes we take exception to a decision, yet we nod in agreement, or we simply let it pass. we justify our acquiescence as keeping the peace, or knowing when to pick our battles. But something else is going on. we worry about saying no. About ruffling feathers. Or worse. So we keep mum. Or we say yes. Sometimes we hear ourself saying yes and we wish dearly that no would roll off our tongue, but it seems so much harder, more frightening, capable of unleashing a string of consequences that don’t bode well. Anger. Resistance. Disapproval.
And now yes is the habit of a lifetime, the habit of our relationships, the habit of our role at work. If we always say yes, where do we put no? Anxiety, migraines, sleeplessness, the nightly glass of wine, the cigarettes, the growing depression? Sometimes, we spend so many years accommodating – everyone – that we forget to accommodate ourself, wondering when “you” got lost in the mix. our life is filled with many good things, but something doesn’t quite fit. You don’t quite fit. You’re not unhappy exactly, but nor would you say you’re happy. But then no one’s happy, right? Or so you tell yourself, seeking solace.
But There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pleasing people, including ourselves. If we’re willing to make sacrifices for the sake of another, who are we to say that’s wrong? But the fact is, people pleasing isn’t about pleasing others, but fending off our fear of rejection. Those of us who would consider themselves people pleasers are generally individuals who feel the need to be accepted by the world around them. And not just a general acceptance, but that of each person they come in contact with. And to maintain this madness, we seek to please with abandon. Let me just start by saying that I’m one of the biggest people pleasers out there.
Show me a possible moment of displeasure and I’ll jump in and fill the need as fast as I can in hopes of both harmony among those involved as well as positive feelings toward little old me. I’m not a saint by any stretch, I just have the disease to please. In the long run, we’re pleasing nobody. One of the great misconceptions among people pleasers is this idea that we’re ‘good people’ who are just trying to make everybody happy. As I stated before, it’s not so much our great concern for another human being, but our obsession with the way others may perceive us. As a result, we tend to say yes to everything and rarely stick up for ourselves.
Even if someone blatantly wrongs us, we are usually the ones who absorb the hurt and then stand in the corner, fuming to ourselves. It’s not a pretty site. The fact is, when we try to please everybody, we end up pleasing nobody. Tired from the burnout that comes from the over extension of ourselves and frustrated by the fact that we keep letting others take advantage of us, we quickly become ineffective in helping others and often times end up resenting everyone around us. Then, when we finally run into a situation where our help is truly needed, we are too depleted to help out.
Also, our ability to decipher a real need from that of someone trying to take advantage of our people pleasing nature, is quite skewed. In our minds, every ‘need’ is a requirement for us to act and in time, this wears us down to worthlessness. Different people pleasers Among Us :-! Its often said that people pleasing is a woman’s issue? Think about it. Who do you know that’s most likely to capitulate, to compromise, to self-sacrifice – even to step into the doormat role on a regular basis? Who puts everyone’s needs before her own, believing that it is the better path – or the only path?
Do these behaviors begin in our homes as children? Do they find reward in the classroom, in the adolescent dating waters, and then the workplace? Are you rewarded for pleasing, but at great cost to self-esteem, and even, ultimately, earning power? Do we eventually learn to use our people pleasing behavior in ways that benefit ourselves? The typical People Pleaser is someone who lacks an internal compass to gauge the value of their own actions, “As a result, they spend their lives looking for validation from others. ” The Child’s Desire for Validation What child doesn’t seek the comfort and approval of a parent?
Who among us doesn’t remember wanting to please those we loved, those in authority, those we admired? “Often, parents will simply tell kids what to do and never encourage them to assert themselves,” he says. “When the kids obey, the parents give them conditional love. ” And when parents are physically or emotionally abusive, when they are absent, when they are erratic in doling out love or approval – the seeds of people pleasing behaviors are planted early, and reinforced. Not only does the child seek validation, but avoidance of pain, or the foreboding sensation that disapproval promises dire consequences.
A Society of Silent Women? Silence as tacit consent can be destructive. Compliance, as a way of life, can be demeaning. People Pleasing, taken to an extreme, undermines an ability to function independently, or to direct our lives according to our goals rather than those of others. Women who suffer from people pleasing behaviors may not be literally silent, but – and I include myself here as a recovering People Pleaser – we are silent in voicing our true expressions of self. And in acting on them. We know ourselves as the tireless team players, the volunteers who rarely (if ever) say no, the cheery jugglers who are admired by others.
But we fall into bed at night depleted, feeling as though the day’s accomplishments are insufficient, even if we ticked off items on an endless list. And incidentally, as the years wear on, frequently those items only peripherally involve us. Parent Pleasers My own bouts with people pleasing derive from early training, absorbed in childhood. I was a Parent Pleaser. My father was often away, and my mother was the textbook narcissist – an imposing, even frightening force. Pleasing her meant greater likelihood ofnot incurring her wrath – her booming voice, her verbal lashing, or any other form of punishment for stepping out of line.
And stepping out of line generally meant doing or saying whatever displeased her at a given moment. I learned the necessity of yes – to anything she asked. Thus, my parent pleasing was less about the carrot than the stick. I was conditioned to avoid pain, and educated as the “good girl,” occasionally garnering reward in the form of parental approval. Is People Pleasing – a Syndrome? I have spent my life in the pursuit of goals and simultaneously seeking to please those around me. Is there any crime in wanting a pleasant environment? A cooperative team? A tranquil household?
I find nothing inherently wrong with a desire to please others or give pleasure. The problem arises when the scales constantly tip in favor of choices that are not in our own best interests. Or even, when behaviors are laden with motivations (conscious and otherwise) that drive us to please others in ways that are compulsive, that obscure our own needs and wants, or obliterate them altogether. Should we coin another syndrome, another personality disorder? Might we have a brave new pharmacological solution for this condition, , and a pill to miraculously restore our psychological balance of power? I suspect that’s already been done.
And yet People Pleasing is not so simple, and nor is it always a disadvantage. But taken to an extreme, the behaviors set us up for being benignly or maliciously exploited. People Pleasers are prime targets for narcissists, often gravitating toward each other, playing out subconscious scenarios that go unrecognized at the time. Pleasing Ourselves Must we toss away our people pleasing talents altogether? And they are talents, finely honed skills, and useful. Our most charismatic personalities are People Pleasers – successful motivational speakers, sales people, fundraisers, PTA organizers, celebrities, and politicians.
There’s nothing wrong with people pleasing; in fact, there is much that is right. It is a matter of impetus and of degree. It is a matter of how you feel – about yourself, your actions, your purposeful inaction. Even for those of us who have tumbled into the trap of a lifetime of people pleasing, we can learn to transform some of these behaviors into advantages. We use them to make friends, to network professionally, to be conciliatory when it is truly required. We learn to please bosses and spouses and those in the public arena whose help we may need. The problem comes when we don’t dare to displease.
How to Stop Being a People Pleaser At a certain point, the light bulb goes on. We may think – it’s too much, I want to find myself again, I want something for me. The People Pleaser personality may be one thing, but the skills are quite another. We needn’t cease pleasing people; we need to moderate our diet. Just as the narcissist might seek to curb her excessive ways. Or, the socially anxious, to interact with less fear. When it comes to people pleasing, it is not about stopping altogether; it is about awareness, and management of feelings and behaviors.
My experience tells me that modifying any behavior is a slow process, a matter of practice, and determination. I continue to work at this precarious and essential balance, daily. Learning to say yes – to what is most important – by saying no. Conclusion As individuals, we all have our own personal flavor. Some are sweet, some salty and others plain bitter. But as a people pleaser, because of our skill of going with the flow at all costs, we lose our flavor all together. We try to blend with every personality we come in contact with and as a result our own personality fades.
What makes you, YOU, is your own blend of Yes’s and No’s. It’s our beliefs and values and preferences that give us our spice. Lose this and you lose yourself in the process. Before long, you end up forgetting what you’re all about. This can be a scary realization and one that should be harnessed to help push us out of our people pleasing ways. We need to figure out for ourselves what needs we should be addressing and then go out and address them. Stop waiting for the world to dictate our attention and start attending to the needs we were meant to address.
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